Despite your greatest efforts to deliver the most awesomely relevant content to your subscribers, you will inevitably find that a portion of your list turns out to be less loyal than you might have imagined. This segment of your list represents your inactive subscribers.

Do you know what percentage of the people you’re emailing are truly engaged with your messages?

If your answer is something along the lines of “I dunno!?”, then you might be asking yourself the following questions:

“How do I know who’s active/inactive? And who filters my emails straight to a folder labeled ‘newsletters’? …which really translates to “a place to collect emails that will be deleted when my inbox reaches capacity, never to be read from now to eternity.”

Once you’ve answered those questions, you naturally ask another: “How do I re-engage those who fall in the inactive category and save them from email disillusion?”

The answers all start with list hygiene. You should regularly purge inactive users from your list in order to maintain good deliverability and allow you to focus on the customers that are really interested in your product or service. Here are a few tips to help you identify and re-engage with inactive subscribers.

  • • Pick a starting point. Look at subscriber activity within a set period of time – say, the last six months. Then segment the subscribers that have not responded to any of your messages within that time frame.
  • • Identify the cause. Analyze the messages and profile of those subscribers to see if you can figure out why they have not responded. If you’ve created a profile of your ideal customer, map that against your inactive list.
  • • Try to re-engage. Once you’ve identified the cause, employ a messaging strategy to solicit a response. Provide a special offer, survey the subscribers, modify their frequency or try different creative or messaging. Truly engage them by presenting a call to action of some sort, so that they have a real incentive to get back ‘atcha.
  • • Remove the non-responders. If, after your best (i.e., respective and appropriate) efforts, they continue to ignore your messages, remove them from your list. ISPs look at engagement when making filtering decisions, so it’s better to have a smaller list of active, loyal customers than an email file that is tarnished by those that have no interest in you.

This should be an iterative process – one that you perform multiple times throughout the year. When you evaluate your email lists, think quality – not quantity. Your business, your customers, your fans and the world around you are all changing every day. Your email list must evolve accordingly.

If you have other tips to add to the list above, please feel free to share in the comments below.

Thanks for reading, and happy emailing!

SendGrid Team
Expert advice and insight about all things email including best practices tips, examples, and advice for marketers, developers, and everyone in between.